Legal Issues and Fraud and Investing and Banking & Finance and Tim Durham and Law

Judge weighing request to unseal Fair Finance records

February 11, 2010

A federal judge is weighing whether to unseal search-warrant documents related to the federal investigation of businessman Tim Durham and Akron, Ohio-based Fair Finance Co. following a hearing Thursday in Youngstown, Ohio.

Judge George J. Limbert heard arguments from attorneys on both sides of the issue but did not make a ruling, according to the Akron Beacon Journal.

The Beacon Journal and Indianapolis Star launched the legal battle in mid-December, several weeks after FBI agents raided Durham’s Indianapolis office and Fair’s headquarters. Indianapolis Business Journal and the Wall Street Journal joined the effort in early January.

The newspapers contend that the records should be unsealed in part because of intense community and national interest. In court Thursday, a representative of the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Indianapolis argued that unsealing search warrants and FBI affidavits could damage the federal government's ongoing investigation, the Beacon Journal reported.

The probe has been public since the Nov. 24 raids. Court papers filed by the U.S. Attorney’s Office that day allege Fair operated as a Ponzi scheme, using money from new investors to pay what it owed prior investors.

The raids occurred one month after IBJ published an investigative story that raised questions about whether Fair Finance had the financial wherewithal to repay Ohio investors who had purchased nearly $200 million in investment certificates.

Read the Beacon Journal story here.

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